"Milorad Dodik, after a meeting with the holders of the most important functions in RS, stated that in the RS budget for the next year, funds will be provided for state officials from RS if they withdraw from the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina," the media reported a few days ago, following yet another crisis fueled by the President of Republika Srpska.
He also added that "consultations have been held with members of the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many of them are ready to immediately withdraw to RS upon request."
However, as has been clear many times before, Dodik has absolutely no means to finance this. According to the budget of Bosnia and Herzegovina, state officials cost a total of 791,282,831 KM this year. Only 791,087,000 KM are planned for gross salaries, 172,259,000 will go to employee and parliamentary representatives' expenses, 15,870,000 KM for travel expenses, and 7,702,000 KM for telephone and postal services.
HOW TO PAY NEW OFFICIALS WITH A DEBT OF 6.4 BILLION KM?
The calculation is simple (if we accept that a third of these officials are of Serbian nationality and that each of them, as Dodik claims, follows his instructions) - for just over 7,000 officials who work in state institutions from 8 am to 4 pm, and from 6 pm they are expected to block the entity border at the "Border Exists" protest, and whom Dodik would reward for leaving those same institutions, he would need to provide 263,659,667, 57,419,667, 5,290,000, and 2,567,333 KM, item by item. A total of 328,936,667 KM. The methods - he did not explain.
The crisis in Dodik's figures actually deepens:
In the Ministry of Finance of RS, it was stated in July of this year that RS is indebted by 3.1 billion KM, with the debt of local self-government units amounting to 121.8 million KM, and public enterprises and the Investment and Development Bank of RS owe just over a billion KM.
Out of the total internal debt, the direct debt of RS is about 1.6 billion KM, local self-government units owe 360.2 million KM, while the debt of social security funds amounts to 170.6 million KM. The total RS debt subject to legal restrictions is slightly less than 6.3 million KM.
"In the Report on the State of RS Debt prepared for the session of the National Assembly of RS, it is stated that last year, due to RS borrowing and indirect RS borrowing, obligations totalling 663.53 million KM were created. External borrowing accounts for 271.7 million KM (217 million KM for budgetary expenditure financing instruments, i.e., loans from the World Bank and loans from Exim Bank Hungary, and 54.7 million KM for investment projects), of which 28.83 million KM pertains to the obligations of local self-government units and public enterprises and IRB RS. Internal borrowing during the past year increased by 391.86 million KM (86.3 million KM in Treasury bills issued, 299.7 million KM in bond issuances by public offering, and 5.9 million KM based on the verification of obligations regulated by the Law on RS Internal Debt). At the same time, in 2022, the budget of Republika Srpska paid 569.72 million KM for servicing RS debt and indirect RS debt," the media reported in July of this year.
The total debt of RS amounts to 6.4 billion KM...
The answer to the question of whether Milorad Dodik can finance the crisis is more than clear. He cannot.
"By the end of the year, he must find another 500 million KM for debt repayment, the next year a billion, then another billion... in 2026, one and a half billion! Moreover, his idea about officials has no legal basis. These people need to be provided with labour law status, and their corresponding expenses need to be covered because every contract must be reported. Let him find 300 million for financing, and I will applaud. In the end, where will he put them? Will he buy desks on three floors, so the one on the last floor won't be allowed to wear a skirt?! Well, maybe they will, because anything is possible. You know, a brothel is a decent work organization for this," said economist Svetlana Cenić to Žurnal.
And economic analyst Zoran Pavlović explains the current situation for Žurnal:
"Economically speaking, it's not great. We've had many problems with swine fever, adverse weather... There has also been a drop in demand from European buyers, and economic activity has significantly decreased. The situation is somewhat better with indirect taxes, but overall, it's not great. If we add to this the fact that people in the public sector quickly learn to spend and act extravagantly, additional costs on the existing RS budget would be too burdensome. Furthermore, the current obligations of RS are enormous and of such a nature that new sources of financing and borrowing are being sought."
Another strike against Dodik is the fact that Republika Srpska, which he has been governing for decades, has borrowed money on the stock market 13 times since the beginning of 2023, totalling 685 million KM. Just a few days ago, it borrowed 145 million KM by selling bonds, and it also took a 30 million euro loan from the Export-Import Bank of Hungary.
WHEN NUMBERS SAY NO, EMOTIONS ARE THERE
The numbers and facts are not in favour of the Republic's leadership, but Prime Minister Višković is also trying to appeal to emotions:
"An attack on an individual, in this case, Dodik, is certainly an attack on the entire Republika Srpska, and it is important that we repeat this because it is yet another confirmation of what the imposed framework called Bosnia and Herzegovina represents, which differs from everything agreed upon and internationally confirmed in Dayton."
All of this comes after the Court of BiH confirmed a prepared indictment against RS President Milorad Dodik and Acting Director of the Official Gazette of RS Miloš Lukić for the criminal offence of non-compliance with the decisions of the High Representative in BiH.
The indictment from the Prosecutor's Office of BiH came a month after High Representative Christian Schmidt annulled the laws of the National Assembly of RS regarding the non-publication of the High Representative's decisions in the Official Gazette of RS and the non-enforcement of the decisions of the Constitutional Court of BiH in the territory of RS.
Dodik has once again mentioned the secession of RS from BiH...